01/30/2016 9:15PM

What a View surges to win California Cup Turf Classic

Benoit & Associates
Kent Desormeaux guides What a View to a 3 1/4-length win in the California Cup Turf Classic.

ARCADIA, Calif. - What a View wanted to do more than jockey Kent Desormeaux intended on the backstretch of Saturday’s $251,000 California Cup Turf Classic at Santa Anita.

Desormeaux had a strong hold on the 5-year-old What a View, who was reluctantly racing behind pacesetter Image of Joplin. When Desormeaux urged What a View forward on the turn, the Hall of Fame jockey was left amazed by the stretch run.

“I was surprised the way he accelerated at the quarter pole,” he said. “They’re not supposed to have anything left when they pull like that.”

What a View had plenty left.

Winning the first stakes of his career, What a View ($10.20) drew off in the final furlong to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Alert Bay, the 2-1 favorite. What a View earned $137,500, paying a quick dividend on the $25,000 supplemental fee owners Patsy and Sal Berumen, Rob Riggio, and the family of the late Bud Johnston paid when entries were taken on Wednesday.

“He likes the course and we wanted to take a shot,” said Jonny Hilvers, a grandson of Bud Johnston who manages the family’s Old English Rancho farm in Sanger, Calif.

What a View, the second choice in the betting, ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.39.

What a View gave trainer Kenny Black the richest win of his training career. The race became a viable option after What a View scored a convincing win in an optional claimer against open company over the course and distance on Dec. 26.

For Saturday’s race, Black and Desormeaux decided What a View’s best chance was to stalk the pace. Image of Joplin, a 20-1 outsider, led through solid early fractions of 23.32 seconds for a quarter-mile and 46.70 for a half-mile, with What a View within a length.

What a View was a tough ride for Desormeaux, which Black said was a better alternative to setting the pace.

“I told him to be second,” he said. “When this horse is in front, it’s an adventure. He ducks and dives.”

What a View led by two lengths with a furlong remaining and stayed clear of Alert Bay, who won the 2015 Cal Cup Turf Classic.

“We got beat by a horse that’s pretty hot,” said Blaine Wright, who trains Alert Bay. “Our horse ran a good race. This was one of the races we’d wanted for a long time.”

Boozer finished third, followed by Poshsky, Grazen Sky, Somethings Unusual, Soi Phet, Tamarando, Unusually Green, Awesome Return, Image of Joplin, and G.G. Ryder.

What a View, by Vronsky, has won 4 of 10 starts and earned $292,148. The win came less than a year after the death of Bud Johnston and seven months after Black took over as official trainer for Old English Rancho. He replaced Don Warren, who retired because of health issues.